FDIC chair intends to resign in February, giving Biden more say over bank regulation

FDIC chair intends to resign in February, giving Biden more say over bank regulation

Jelena McWilliams, chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), during a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Jelena McWilliams, the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and a holdover Trump appointee, said Friday she intends to leave her position in early 2022.

In a surprise announcement, McWilliams said she is resigning effective Feb. 4.

The move gives President Joe Biden another opportunity to strengthen his hand over bank regulation. McWilliams has been with the FDIC since 2018 and recently sparred with congressional Democrats over proposed changes to how the agency handles bank mergers.

Democrats hold a majority on the board, and with Vice Chairman Martin Gruenberg now set to take over as acting chair, they have sway at the top. Gruenberg has spoken out against the deregulatory actions taken over the past several years at the Federal Reserve that also have drawn sharp criticism from firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

McWilliams did not include a reason for her resignation, saying only that it was a “tremendous honor” to serve at the FDIC, the Fed and the Senate, where she held a variety of roles including chief counsel and deputy staff director for the upper chamber’s banking committee.

“Throughout my tenure, the agency has focused on its fundamental mission to maintain and instill confidence in our banking system while at the same time promoting innovation, strengthening financial inclusion, improving transparency, and supporting community banks and minority depository institutions, including through the creation of the Mission Driven Bank Fund,” she said in a statement.

“Today, banks continue to maintain robust capital and liquidity levels to support lending and protect against potential losses,” she added.

The move comes as Biden looks to fill another key regulatory post, the Fed’s vice chairman for supervision, who oversees the financial system. Recent reports have indicated Biden is likely to nominate former Fed Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin for the position.

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